The main aim of this paper is to analyse Hegel’s theory of cognitive reference to the world and, in particular, Hegel’s theory of sensation (Empfindung), in order to verify whether it implies metaphysical commitments (and, if so, to what extent). I will pursue my goal by investigating the problem of sensation in Hegel’s philosophy starting from McDowell’s conception of the relation between mind and world and from his theory of perception. In my view, this strategy offers a threefold advantage that will enable us to do the following: i) persuasively interpret the Hegelian theory of sensation; ii) better understand the authenticity and the limits of McDowell’s ‘Hegelianism’; iii) place the Hegelian theory of sensation within the complex contemporary debate on the status of sensible experience.
This essay examines the manner in which Hume challenges the cognitivist and realist intuitions informing our ordinary experience of value by identifying values with mind-dependent feelings and by separating facts from values. However, through a process of interpretive rehearsal of Hume’s arguments in the first two parts of the paper we find that they come under increasing internal strain, which points, contrary to his initial argument about the irreducibly phenomenal aspects of value experience, to the motivational role of reason and to the identification of values, not with mind-dependent feelings, but with dispositional properties of objects. The third and final part of the paper will offer a systematic reconstruction of his arguments with a view to suggesting one possible – descriptivist – alternative to Hume’s initial challenges, which can serve to satisfy the emerging cognitivist and realist needs of his arguments.
The articles in this volume all concern, in one way or another, Hume’s epistemology and metaphysics. There are discussions of our knowledge of causal powers, the extent to which conceivability is a guide to modality, and testimony; there are also discussions of our ideas of space and time, the role in Hume’s thought of the psychological mechanism of ‘completing the union’, the role of impressions, and Hume’s argument against the claim that our perceptions are ‘locally conjoined’ with any entity (namely, a soul). ------------ The authors: Brian Ball, Helen Beebee, Angela M. Coventry, Aisling Crean, Daniel Dohrn, Kristina Engelhard, Axel Gelfert, Angela Matthies, Harold W. Noonan, Sara L. Uckelman Spencer Johnston, Hartmut von Sass, Anik Waldow, Ruth Weintraub ----------------------------- Single copy: EUR 44,- [D] sFr 72,- Subscription: EUR 38,- [D] sFr 62,80
In this paper, Anselm’s argument for the uniqueness of God or, more precisely, something through which everything that exists has its being (Monologion 3) is reconstructed. A first reading of the argument leads to a preliminary reconstruens with one major weakness, namely the incompleteness of a central case distinction. In the successful attempt to construct a more tenable reconstruens some additional premises which are deeply rooted in an Anselmian metaphysics are identified. Anselm’s argument seems to depend on premises such as that if two things have the same nature, then there is one common thing from which they have this nature and in virtue of which they exist. Furthermore it appears that infinite regresses are excluded by the premise that if everything that exists is through something, then there is something through which it is “most truly”.
There is a strange contrast between, on the one hand, the prominent place generally assigned to Parmenides in the history of Greek philosophy, and on the other hand, the persistent uncertainty in the understanding of his teachings, as demonstrated by the large number of conflicting interpretations. In particular, there is no consent on the question whether Parmenides, in spite of the obvious weaknesses of his arguments, ought to be seen as the first proponent of a purely rational metaphysics, or whether, in view of his assertion of the unreality of change and plurality and of the identity of thinking and being, we should first of all view him as a precursor of Plotinus, or even as a mediator between Indian Advaita-philosophy and Neo- Platonism. That question is the central issue considered in this paper. For it, only the first part of Parmenides’ poem is relevant: his “way of truth”.
The question of the relationship between faith and reason marks one of the fundamental issues for classical German philosophy. The paper is guided by a systematic interest in identifying some common features in the approaches taken by Kant and Hegel that are also of interest for the contemporary discussion: 1. The specific modernity of Kant’s and Hegel’s considerations, evident in their rejection of the resources traditionally appealed to by religion and rationalist metaphysics; 2. the anti-naturalist conviction that, in contrast to animals, a metaphysical dimension is inscribed into the human mind; and 3. the thesis that metaphysical questions are existential questions arising from an impulse toward freedom, and hence that a purely theoretical approach is inadequate to address them.
In Spinoza’s substance monism, radically different attributes constitute the essence of one and the same substance qua a strongly unified whole. Showing how this is possible poses a formidable Cartesian challenge to Spinoza’s metaphysics. In this paper I suggest a reconstruction of Spinoza’s notion of substance that meets this challenge and explains a major feature of this notion. I then show how this reconstruction can be used to resolve two fundamental problems of the Cartesian framework that pertain to Spinoza’s metaphysics. On this basis, I then explain two further major features of Spinoza’s notion of substance. While my suggested reconstruction has all these advantages and accords well with Spinoza’s conceptual framework, it goes beyond what he explicitly says concerning substance monism. It is in the spirit of his metaphysical framework rather than in its letter. Thus, all I intend to show is that Spinoza has the conceptual resources for coming to terms with some of the deep problems that beset his metaphysics.
In order to understand Hegel’s form of philosophical reflection in general, we must read his ‘speculative’ sentences about spirit and nature, rationality and reason, the mind and its embodiment as general remarks about conceptual topics in topographical overviews about our ways of talking about ourselves in the world. The resulting attitude to traditional metaphysics gets ambivalent in view of the insight that Aristotle’s prima philosophia is knowledge of human knowledge, developed in meta-scientific reflections on notions like ‘nature’ and ‘essence’, ‘reality’ (or ‘being’) and ‘truth’, about ‘powers’ and ‘faculties’ – and does not lead by itself to an object-level theory about spiritual things like the soul. We therefore cannot just replace critical metaphysics of the human mind by empirical investigation of human behaviour as empiricist approaches to human cognition in naturalized epistemologies do and neuro-physiological explanations propose. Making transcendental forms and material presuppositions of conceptually informed perception and experience explicit needs some understanding of figurative forms of speech in our logical reflections and leads to other forms of knowledge than empirical observation and theory formation.
This paper considers a principal concept of metaphysics – the category of substance – as it figures in Kant’s critical program of establishing metaphysics as a science. Like Leibniz, Kant identifies metaphysical concepts through logical reflection on the form of cognitive activity. He thus begins with general logic’s account of categorical judgment as an act of subordinating predicate to subject. This categorical form is then considered in transcendental logic with reference to the possibility of its real use. Transcendental reflection reveals that the categorical form, in its potential for such use, constitutes the category of substance and accident, representing a first real subject and a determination of its existence. But to qualify for objective, scientific employment, metaphysics’ concepts must admit of real definitions, which show their objects to be possible, and such possibility, pace Leibniz, can be established only in relation to possible experience. Thus, relying on his doctrine of the schematism, Kant shows the category to figure constitutively in experience, as the ground of the first law of nature, that in all change substance persists.
Leibniz’s claim that it is possible for us to gain metaphysical knowledge through reflection on the self has intrigued many commentators, but it has also often been criticized as flawed or unintelligible. A similar fate has beset Leibniz’s arguments against materialism. In this paper, I explore one of Leibniz’s lesser-known arguments against materialism from his reply to Bayle’s new note L (1702), and argue that it provides us with an instance of a Leibnizian “argument from reflection”. This argument, I further show, does not constitute a flawed appeal to mere introspection, but is in fact securely grounded in an important corollary of the Principle of Sufficient Reason: Leibniz’s Principle of Intelligibility.